Triathlon is a challenging sport, and to succeed at it, you need the right gear that keeps you comfortable and looking good. The best triathlon shorts make all the difference – get yours today!
While these might be the easiest piece of gear to wear on race day, their versatility and long-standing popularity make them one of the most popular items in any triathlete’s closet. From biking to swimming, running to surfing, these shorts can go anywhere — and look good doing it.
When you are participating in a triathlon, the most common combination of equipment includes triathlon or workout shorts and a shirt or a race suit. But that’s not a requirement! Triathletes have many different ways in which they choose to get down the racecourse. Your style is yours alone, as long as you’re enjoying yourself!
For the cyclist or triathlete that’s looking for a way to get into their sport without spending a ton of money, a good pair of triathlon shorts will be a great investment. We promise you won’t be worrying about adjusting your bottoms every few minutes — and that will allow you to stay focused on the race!
Triathlon shorts are a triathlete’s best friend. Sure, you can do a triathlon in a pair of running shorts, but having a good pair of tri shorts can make your races go more smoothly. They have a few key features that you’ll want to be aware of. Be sure to pick the right quality for you, and you’ll probably want at least two or three pairs!
Hey, if you’re interested in wearing bib shorts, we have a list of the best ones out there which also includes some short shorts, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But anyway, triathlon shorts are the foundation of a triathlete’s wardrobe and a vital piece of equipment for any serious triathlete. But what makes a good triathlon short? What should you be looking for when deciding to buy new triathlon gear? Read on to find out!
The Best Triathlon Shorts: What to Look For
Tri shorts are an important part of any serious athlete’s wardrobe — they need to be tough enough for an early-morning run on the beach, yet comfortable enough for even the most grueling race. At the same time, tri shorts need to look great and not cost too much.
Tri gear has come a long way in a short period of time, and manufacturers are now providing enough options that you can use the same pair of shorts all day long. From your early morning five-mile run through the swim at the pool to that last set of biking drills, you can count on your tri shorts. These aren’t just garments for race day — in fact, they’re not even just for triathletes.
Triathlon racing can be a challenging sport, but that’s what makes it so exhilarating! Fortunately, these days, there’s no shortage of great triathlon gear, including some incredible tri shorts that are versatile and durable enough to last a long time.
However, a word of caution on the use of tri shorts: While they are one of the best (and most comfortable) options for swimming, biking, and running in, they should be avoided in chlorinated pools. Doing so will wear them out quickly.
Tri shorts aren’t your average triathlon gear. Sure, they’re meant for the activity of triathlon, but their functionality and versatility go far beyond that single sport. So what’s the difference? Compared to cycling shorts or compression shorts, Tri shorts offer a look and feel that is superior to the two while providing more flexibility in terms of when and where you can wear them.
How to Pick the Best Triathlon Shorts
The following are the most important factors to look for when buying tri shorts.
Affordability will be a big factor in your decision, too. Of course, more expensive tri shorts tend to provide better overall comfort — leg grips that are barely noticeable, for instance. A seat pad chamois is also a big selling point for quality shorts, and you should be prepared to upgrade at least once.
The cheaper the shorts, the fewer features you will find. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a very good triathlon short for a very low price!
The best triathlon shorts are made with swim, bike, and run-specific material blends. I know, it sounds like a lot of jargon — so let me explain it in simpler terms. Most manufacturers know how to combine material blends in such a way that the shorts will dry quickly at the beach, but will also keep you swimming comfortably throughout the day. And we don’t understand how they do it either!
Triathlon shorts can be a great asset to your workout routine, but you need to have the right size for them to be effective, not too small and not too big. If they are too big, they will not feel like a second skin. But if they are too small, you could very well suffer from injury, uncomfortable chafing, limited movement, and potential circulation issues. Plus, it could give you an unflattering appearance!
Sitting on a bike for an extended period of time is no joke. But you’ve got to do it if you want to compete in triathlons. You can’t just get on your bike and expect the chamois in your triathlon shorts to take away all the pressure. It doesn’t work like that. It’ll only keep you comfortable for so long — and then you’ll start feeling the burn. And it won’t be pleasant.
That said, you need something that dries quickly and has enough padding to get them through the course without discomfort. Triathlon pads, unlike those in normal biking shorts, are not quite as substantial or thick. This is kind of important. Wetness on the pad could be potentially hazardous, so it is crucial that you dry your pad off before riding again. This is necessary to prevent chafing from occurring. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing chafing, then consider yourself lucky — it’s not a pleasant experience.
While the lack of pockets makes triathlon shorts extremely lightweight, we know that some people prefer to carry essential items with them as they run. If you’re looking for a pair of pants that includes a few pockets, you’ll be happy to hear that some of the best triathlon shorts do exist out there.
The seams are the last thing you want to think about when racing. Imagine those favorite compression shorts, or your new pair of compression tights, if the seams were not there. It is the same with triathlon shorts. Seam construction can make or break the fit and durability of triathlon shorts. The higher quality the triathlon shorts, the more likely you are to be able to forget about them during a race.
‘Comfortable leg grips’ is a crucial and often neglected part of triathlon clothing. The fact that your shorts don’t ride up is probably the least important aspect of this feature — they need to stay in place while you’re swimming, biking, and running too. The real trick is making the leg grips comfortable enough that they don’t rub or bunch up underneath your wetsuit either. However, this is another area where spending more can often result in a better comfort experience. After all, the ones you don’t feel most of the time are likely the best.
The inseam of the best triathlon shorts can range from 6 inches to 10 inches, depending on the manufacturer. While most triathletes prefer shorts with an inseam length of 6–8 inches, it is a personal preference thing. The amount of coverage provided by the fabric also varies.
Top 3 Best Triathlon Shorts
So, how do you choose the best shorts for a triathlon? We’ve been using many different brands and models, but we’d say that these are the three best. No doubt about it.
Pearl iZUMi Select Pursuit Tri Shorts
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Triathlon gear can be confusing, what with all the different combinations of running, cycling, and swimming gear coming out all the time. So how do you know which gear to buy? Well, when it comes to triathlon shorts, every time, we’d go with one of our best triathlon shorts – Pearl iZUMi Select Pursuit Tri Shorts. This running underwear is best suited for powerful running and cycling, but also perfect for water sports.
The Select Pursuit Tri Shorts are perfect for performance. The fabric is soft and comfortable; if you’re a runner, you know how important that is. It’s also stretchy and breathable, so you can wear it comfortably on every training trip or race day.
The leg grips on the ends of the shorts are fantastic. There’s practically no sliding with these bad boys. They’ll stay in place even when you’re doing some crazy HIIT workout. You can choose between two colors. The navy blue shorts look very professional-looking, while the black ones are a bit more casual and sporty.
Pro-Tip: The difference between a marathon and a sprint is in how much you push yourself, and that means not being comfortable. So make sure you’re pushing yourself with these spandex strides that will allow you to glide farther, faster. There’s even a gel-pack pocket that you can use for gels and GU (gummy bears) if you’re a runner who prefers to run on sugary energy.
For going the distance with comfort and style, the Pearl iZUMi Select Pursuit Tri Shorts are ideal. They’re built with enough padding for added comfort no matter how long you spend in the water, with fabric that dries quickly so you’ll feel fresh and dry even as you continue to push yourself for gold. The lack of accommodation might make some people uncomfortable if they require extra space, but for those of us who don’t need it, it’s a great pick!
SLS3 Tri Shorts for Women
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Alright, ladies! These SLS3 Tri Shorts are made for you. Women who bought and reviewed these found this pair one of the best triathlon shorts. They’re lightweight, flexible, and very comfortable to wear. These shorts help increase performance levels by speeding up your movements and maintain them throughout the race. You can be sure that you’ll get the best out of your body with these triathlon shorts!
These tri shorts are so comfortable that you might just forget you’re wearing them. (This is a good thing.) The fabric’s slightly longer inseam — compared to the regular ‘spandex’ tri shorts — allows you to run faster due to the extra support that it provides. And by covering your thighs, the shorts help reduce sun damage as well.
When you’re going for a run or swimming, the last thing you want are shorts so thick that you feel like the Michelin Man. You want to feel light, agile, and free, which is why these lightweight running and swimming shorts come with padding thin enough to keep you comfortable be it you’re swimming or running or cycling.
In addition to being thin, chamois pads are also highly absorbent. They wick moisture away from the skin to prevent chafing and irritation, making them popular for cyclers. However, if you’re not used to chamois padding, you might experience a little bit of discomfort while you get used to it.
This shorts’ hem’s elastic grips fit comfortably and make your thighs look slim. They have just the right amount of tightness to hold them in place all throughout your race or training session, so you can focus on what’s important: winning.
Those pesky seams are the bane of every triathlete’s existence. Even the tiniest bit of rubbing can distract you from the 300-meter swim, tricky turn on the bike, or hilly trail run — and we all know that distraction can lead to injury and epic disappointment. But thanks to its flat seam design, that won’t be a problem, because rubbing and irritation from seams are both prevented and eliminated. Consequently, you can focus on reaching new heights at your next race.
ZONE3 2019 Buoyancy Shorts
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The Zone3 Buoyancy Shorts are now known as the ‘Originals’ amongst swimmers. They’re still quite popular amongst swimmers today, thanks to their improved designs and amazing buoyancy—which lifts up your hips in order to let you swim faster. This one has the perfect amount of cushion on the sides and at the center, making it one of the best triathlon shorts.
The thickness of the neoprene used at the center of these shorts is 3mm, while it is 5mm thick on the sides. By the way, neoprene is a synthetic rubber compound that is both waterproof and odor-resistant. It allows water to pass through while remaining buoyant. The manufacturer chose neoprene for this product because its high degree of elasticity makes it perfect for swimming and stretching—two activities that require flexibility in the water.
They are made from 100% natural neoprene, which helps to ensure that they not only fit you like a glove but are easy on the eye as well. The seams are soft, flat, and keep everything nice and smooth while you do your laps.
If you’re thinking of taking your swimming skills to the next level, these tri-shorts are a perfect beginner’s swimwear option. You’re going to love how lightweight they are, making them really easy to swim in. They seem to be quite durable and you’ll never have any problems with them tearing or falling apart.
Are you well-endowed in the thigh area? Then these shorts are probably not for you. Otherwise, be prepared to have a pair of shorts that don’t slip and slide around when you’re running, biking, or swimming. You’ll get a really great fit if you get the correct size!
Triathletes understand one thing: you don’t win races without the right gear. Now, you can take your triathlon performance to the next level by wearing the best triathlon clothing specifically designed for various triathlon races and events.
Thus, before buying a pair of triathlon shorts, we recommend that you analyze the composition and measure the length per inch (or centimeter) of the fabric. We especially love the following three triathlon shorts below.
There you have it — my top recommendations for the best triathlon shorts! Don’t worry about trying to sift through the fray of brands manufacturing gear for triathletes — I’ve done the dirty work for you. If you’re looking for a cheap pair that will do the job, or if you want the best and most expensive pair that will last, there’s something for everyone on this list.